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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: Anatidae V on October 20, 2015, 04:03:50 AM

Title: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Anatidae V on October 20, 2015, 04:03:50 AM
Hi all, I'm looking at purchasing my first PPOR. Chances are that I'll pick something from the 70's or 80's that will require some updates in the bathroom/kitchen/laundry, air con and things I haven't thought of. Asbestos was a common construction material here at the time, how much of an issue might it be? Would a standard pre-purchase building inspection find most of it?
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Fishindude on October 20, 2015, 05:18:29 AM
Asbestos wasn't used much in the 70's and 80's.
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on October 20, 2015, 06:33:45 AM
In the USA your big problem in housing from that era would be lead paint, not asbestos. Maybe aluminum wiring? I had a house from 1971 and everything about it was the worst.
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Anatidae V on October 20, 2015, 06:40:36 AM
Ah, but I'm not in the USA. I'm in Australia...
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: pl28 on October 20, 2015, 10:31:57 PM
I'm not familiar with housing in Aus but in US, like other poster said asbestos are found in much older home like in the pre-1970. In US homes, major things that may be issues are radon, lead paint, foundation, and aluminum wiring. A licensed inspector from your local area will be knowledgeable but not always. So do some homework and look around other forums and web discussions that are , ask neighbors in area you are interested in buying.

Good luck with your search, buying rental properties can be intimating at first but if you are into real estate, its a pretty good investment.
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Goldielocks on October 21, 2015, 12:11:02 AM
As long as it is not in your attic insulation, and therefore getting in your air heating ducts to blow around, you are fine.  Just don't cut or remove it without PPE.  Eg leave tile, and just cover and it.
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Telecaster on October 21, 2015, 10:29:53 PM
Pretty much what goldielocks said.  Asbestos is a health hazard if you inhale it, typically over a period time.  Typically asbestos in building materials is found in stuff like floor tiles or roofing, stuff like that.  You can't breath it, so no problem.  At least locally, building inspectors will almost never specifically identify asbestos.  Doing that accurately requires testing, and they don't want the liability. 

However, in the event if demolition, renovation, or disposal, of suspect materials, there may be additional costs or hoops you have to jump through.

Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Urchina on October 21, 2015, 10:33:13 PM
If there's asbestos in your prospective house, there's a few places it could be:
1. In the ducting (insulation) for your forced-air heating system;
2. As the adhesive or as part of vinyl, tile, or sheet flooring;
3. In the joint compound that is used to tape over the seams in sheetrock;
4. In acoustic ceilings, or "popcorn ceiling" texturing.

There's probably other places, but that's where it's common in our houses.

If you're concerned, it's not terribly expensive here (US) to get tests done. We had our house tested before beginning renovations. It cost $250 or so for the environmental consultant to come out, and $30 per area tested. We had several areas tested, and they would also test for radon, lead paint, etc. if we were concerned.

It turns out that we did have asbestos in the joint compound and in the ducting for our heating system; we paid to have professionals remove it (we have young children and I was not prepared to do the work myself and risk it with them living here); that was the more expensive part (about $2500 for the areas we had done, which included removing our old furnace and the crushed/damaged asbestos ducting).

If I were purchasing a rental property, I'd be willing to get the testing done and then use that as part of my negotiation tactics, depending on the market. You may choose a different route. Good luck!
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Astatine on October 21, 2015, 10:36:49 PM
In theory, your state govt (or local council) should have a brochure on likely asbestos sources in the home. If your state doesn't, then try Vic or NSW. Are you worried about bonded asbestos or loose fibre insulation stuff?

Bonded asbestos is pretty common in my city in houses built up until the 70s. I haven't had formal testing of anything but I've had unofficial opinions from a builder, architect and an asbestos guy that our kitchen, laundry and bathroom plus eaves are all likely to be bonded asbestos. It can be ok left in situ as long it's in good condition. We had our eaves replaced and the builder hired qualified asbestos removers to take those down for him (again, never formally tested but safest to assume that it is bonded asbestos). We just make sure we don't drill any holes into the laundry, bathroom and kitchen. And when I painted the laundry, I absolutely did not sand any of the walls down because of the risk of fibres. I just washed with sugar soap and then painted.
Title: Re: Asbestos in housing?
Post by: Anatidae V on October 21, 2015, 11:20:52 PM
I'm somewhat concerned about bonded asbestos, and I would be extremely worried about loose fibre. I haven't seen inside this particular house yet, but I'm sure there might be others that we might look at. DH is concerned about the bonded fencing as well, but that's easier to get a piece of to send to a lab. Thanks for all the info everyone!